Saturday, November 28, 2015

2007 Topps, Josh Hamilton

#625 Josh Hamilton

Here is the second card that Josh Hamilton signed for me at a Rangers game in 2008. I posted the first card over five years ago and that one can be seen here.

The first card I posted of Josh showed him with the team that drafted him, Tampa Bay. Here he is with the Reds, the team that he made his Major League debut with. After being out of baseball for three seasons because of his drug addiction, Josh came back in 2006 and played in 15 games in the New York Penn League. He hit .260 with 3 doubles and 5 RBI. He must have shown signs that he was ready to break out because the Cubs picked him up in the Rule V Draft and promptly sold him to the Reds.

His time in Cincinnati lasted just one season. That year, he got into 90 games and hit .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBI. That is really good considering that the highest level of baseball before that was 23 games of AA ball six years prior. After that season, the Reds shipped him to the Rangers for Edinson Volquez and another pitcher. Josh went off in the home run derby that next season and has pretty much been a household name ever since.

I got to see Josh play one time with the Reds. It was at Wrigley Field and Josh pinch hit in the eighth inning of a tied game. He hit a two run home run to propel the Reds to a win. It was pretty awesome. I have seen him play nine more times since then and have seen two more home runs. But, that first one, as a Red, was the most memorable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2007 Topps, Ned Yost

#617 Ned Yost

Here is a quick pre-Thanksgiving post of the manager of the 2015 World Series Champions, Kansas City Royals. This is the first card of a member of the team that I have posted since they won it all last month. My wife got this card signed by Ned prior to a Spring Training game in 2013. I have only been to two Royals Spring Training games, but Ned signed for a ton of fans at both games.

I believe that this is the fifth card of Ned that I have posted on here. I posted three cards of him as a player and then posted a manager card of him this past spring. When I posted that card, I commented that I did not realize at the time that I was getting that card signed by the manager of the next American League champs. I am still floored that they won the Series this year. Ned has always baffled me with the way he has used his bullpen, but he finally figured out the HDH scenario last year, Herrera to Davis to Holland. That formula faltered this year when Holland struggled and eventually needed Tommy John surgery. But Ned pieced it together and, while it wasn't as steadfast as HDH, he was able to make it work. It helped a bunch that he had Wade Davis in his pen kill any potential rallies.

On the last card of Ned I posted, I talked about his managerial career in Milwaukee. Even though he is still a Brewer on this card, I am going to talk about his tenure with the Royals. And all I have to say about that is that Ned is the club's winningest manager. His 468 wins tops Whitey Herzog by 58. I still cannot believe that fact. I know Ned has a couple of seasons on Whitey and a losing record (which should not be that way after next year), but I still have a hard time coming to grips with him being the franchise leader. That could be because I have been a Royals fan since 2000 and they have pretty much sucked that entire time until lately. Success has been for me to adjust to, apparently.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2007 Topps, Sam Perlozzo

#608 Sam Perlozzo

Here is the second of two cards that Sam Perlozzo signed for me outside of Kauffman Stadium in 2008. Sam was the third base coach for the Mariners at the time and he signed for me after arriving at the ballpark with three other members of the coaching staff. I posted the first card that he signed in 2012 and that one can be seen here.

Sam managed the O's for parts of three seasons. He got the job in 2005 after replacing Lee Mazzilli. Sam lead the club to a 23-32 record down the stretch and they finished 74-88. 2006 was his only full season as a Major League manager and the team went 70-92 that season, finishing fourth in the AL East. In 2007, the Orioles started out 29-40 before Sam got the ax. He was replaced by Dave Trembley who went 40-53 over the remainder of the season.

Sam was the Mariners third base coach for just the 2008 season. He moved on to the Phillies in 2009 and worked as a base coach for them before being dismissed after the 2012 season.

I think it is strange that the manager cards from 2007 Topps lack that facsimile signature that all of the rest of the cards from the set have. Topps did the same thing in 2008, as well. I have no idea why that it the case, but they sure do work better for autographs without it on there. Luckily, Topps has not done that since the 2008 set.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2007 Topps, Brian Bannister

#587 Brian Bannister

I have posted a few cards of Brian Bannister before, but this is the first one of him as a member of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals got him from the Mets after the 2006 season in an exchange for Ambiorix Burgos. Considering that Burgos went on to have a multitude of legal problems, I would say that it was a good trade for the Royals.

Brian pitched just one season for the Mets and he went 2-1 with a 4.46 ERA. He appeared in eight games with six of them starts. He struck out 19, but walked 22.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Brian has one of the best and most consistent signatures I have ever seen. Every time I got him to sign, he took his time and gave me the best autograph that he could. I asked him once about his perfect looking signature and he told me that I should see his dad's. So, I sent an '81 Donruss to Floyd and I was impressed. But, I must say that I like Brian's better. Floyd's was actually readable, though.

I got this card signed by the Royals parking lot in 2008.

I am pretty sure this card is a photoshopped version of Brian's '06 Topps and Bowman cards. It is not the same photo, but is from the same sequence of photos.

Friday, November 13, 2015

2007 Topps, Willie Bloomquist

#585 Willie Bllomquist

Here is the second card that Willie signed for me at Royals Fanfest in 2009. Willie was a new addition to the team at the time and was one of the first autographs I got that day. I posted the other card that he signed for me that day back in 2010 and it can be seen here.

Willie has played in the Majors for fourteen seasons and is the ultimate utility man. He has started a game at every single position except for pitcher and catcher. I guess his main position would be shortstop as that is where he has played the most. But, he is comfortable at the second and third and all of the outfield positions. First base is where he has seen the least amount of playing time.

Willie played his first seven seasons with the Mariners before having some short stops in Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Arizona. He then rejoined Seattle in 2014 and played there until getting released this past summer. He was hitting just .159 at the time of his release. With him turning thirty-eight later this month, I think it is a safe bet that Willie's career is over. I could be wrong, though.

Back-to-back Mariners on here. That does not happen very often.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2007 Topps, Horacio Ramirez

#549 Horacio Ramirez

Here is the first of three cards that Horacio Ramirez signed for me one day while he was with the Royals. I got the cards signed after a day game day in 2008 while Horacio was signing from the Royals parking lot. That was the good old days when Royals actually signed before and after games from the lot.

Horacio was drafted by the Braves out of high school in the fifth round of the 1997 draft. He made his Major League debut with Atlanta in 2003 and made 29 starts with the team. He was an impressive 12-4 during his rookie year, but his 4.00 ERA and 100 to 72 strikeout to walk ratio says that he probably got lucky that season. But, those 12 wins and 100 Ks were career highs for him.

He seems to have been banged up for most of the 2004 season as he only appeared in ten games with the Braves and just five minor league games. He was 2-4 in the Majors with a 2.39 ERA. But, he had nearly one walk for every strikeout. He was back in form in 2005 as he started 32 games for the Braves. That season, he logged 202.1 innings and went 11-9 with a 4.63 ERA while striking out 80 and walking 67.

The heavy workload in 2005 must have hindered Horacio in 2006. That season, he made just fourteen starts for Atlanta and had four in the minors. In the Majors, he was 5-5 with a 4.48 with 37 Ks and 31 walks. After the season, the Braves flipped him to Seattle for Rafael Soriano.

For his career in Atlanta, Horacio was 30-22 with a 4.13 ERA with 248 strikeouts and 200 walks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2007 Topps, Doug Davis

#489 Doug Davis

Somehow, I have neglected to post on here for two and a half weeks. I have no idea where the time has gone and have no excuse for the lack of posts. At this rate, and with the holiday season coming up and a child on the way, I do not see things getting any better in the near future. But, I have this weekend off and will try to get s couple of cards in before my crazy work month officially begins.

Here is the first of three cards that Doug Davis signed for me in 2012 while he was with the Omaha Storm Chasers. I got the cards signed at a game in Oklahoma City. Doug was not starting that day, but I was able to coax him out of the dugout to sign right before first pitch. Even though his Major League career was unofficially over at that point, it was still cool to add some signatures from a seasoned vet.

Speaking of vets, Happy Veterans Day to all that have served!